Staff Picks
Kimber – William Elliot Whitmore, Kevin Morby
Lindsay – Fuzz
Dario – Kevin Morby
Eric – Fuzz

Autechre – Sign CD/2xLP+MP3 (Warp)
Practically pocket-sized in comparison to their sprawling torrent of live material and radio recordings in recent years, Sign is a return to the sort of concision found circa Exai and their earlier albums. Effectively they’ve gotten better to grips with their live set-up, and the hyper ideas found in their work-in-progress demonstrations on the five volume Elseq and eight hours of NTS Sessions have been refined into moments of crystalline ambient baroque beauty and liquid-limbed swag on Sign. After their music has undergone what could be called a growth spurt in recent years, the acrid plasma of their complex, hyper-inorganic systems feels to congeal, create more intricate snaps across the album.

Matt Berninger – Serpentine Prison CD/LP (Concord)
Serpentine Prison is the debut solo record from The National frontman Matt Berninger. Berninger, known for his distinctive voice and expansive live performances, has won praise from NPR Music for his “whiskey-soaked baritone” while Uproxx hails Berninger as “a master class in how to front a band.” According to The New Yorker, “fans of The National have had plenty of time to acclimate to Berninger’s voice, a heady, lumbering baritone, yet it’s worth reiterating its singularity.” Produced by famed Memphis multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones, Serpentine Prison features contributions from a wide array of notable artists, including Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Andrew Bird, Mike Brewer, Hayden Desser, Scott Devendorf (The National), Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz), Booker T. Jones, Teddy Jones, Brent Knopf (EL VY, Menomena), Ben Lanz (The National, Beirut), Walter Martin (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Sean O’Brien, Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan), Kyle Resnick (The National, Beirut), Matt Sheehy (EL VY, Lost Lander) and Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers).

Fuzz – III CD/LP (In The Red)
Charles Moothart, Ty Segall and Chad Ubovich are Fuzz. III was recorded and mixed at United Recording under the sonic lordship of Steve Albini. Keeping the focus on the live sounds of the band, the use of overdubs and studio tricks were kept to a minimum. Albini’s mastery in capturing sound gave the trio the ability to focus entirely on the playing while knowing the natural sounds would land. It takes the essential ingredients of “guitar-based music” and “rock and roll power trio” and puts them right out on the chopping block. It was a much more honest approach for the band—three humans getting primitive, staying primitive.

Deep Sea Diver – Impossible Weight CD/LP (ATO)
Impossible Weight, the third full-length from Deep Sea Diver, is a work of sublime highs and mesmerizing lows, its restless intensity both unsettling and transcendent. Co-produced by bandleader Jessica Dobson and Andy D. Park, the album’s lush textures and mercurial arrangements reveal the limitless imagination of Dobson’s guitar work (which she’s previously shown in playing lead guitar for Beck and The Shins) and fully illuminates the power of her vocals. “I’d never produced a record before and I started out with low expectations for myself, but at some point I realized, ‘I can do this,'” Dobson recalls. “I decided to completely trust my voice and make really bold decisions in all my production calls – just push everything to the absolute outer edges.”

Tom Petty – Wildflowers & All The Rest 4xCD/3xLP (WB)
Originally released on November 1, 1994, Wildflowers – a single CD with 15 songs, still more than an hour in length – was Tom’s most acutely confessional album to date. This expanded reissue, available in three editions, collects a wealth of material recorded during the same time period but didn’t make it on the finished LP: The four CD deluxe edition contains 54 tracks, 8 unreleased songs, and 24 unreleased alternate versions. In addition to the 15 track original album (remastered in 2020), the deluxe edition contains the album All The Rest (10 songs from the original Wildflowers sessions), a full CD of 15 solo demos recorded by Petty at his home studio, and a disc of 14 live versions of Wildflowers songs recorded from 1995 – 2017. The triple vinyl edition contains the original 1994 Wildflowers album (remastered in 2020) with 15 tracks across two LPs while a third disc features All The Rest, the 10 songs from the Wildflowers sessions that were left off the album, five of which are previously unreleased. It also includes lyrics to all the songs on Wildflowers & All The Rest. The deluxe seven LP set adds a double LP of 15 solo demos recorded by Petty at his home studio, and an additional double LP of 14 live versions of Wildflowers songs recorded from 1995-2017. The deluxe packaging includes a 60-page book, an introduction by Rick Rubin (the original producer), an essay by David Fricke, a complete track-by-track, and rare photos and specially commissioned illustrations.

Various Artists – Blue Note Re:imagined 2xCD/2xLP (Blue Note/Decca)
Legendary labels Decca Records and Blue Note have joined forces for Blue Note Re:imagined; a new collection of 16 classic tracks, reworked and newly recorded by a selection of the UK scene’s most exciting young talents. A bridge between the ground-breaking label’s past and future, the project features contributions from a rollcall of acclaimed jazz, soul and R&B acts like Shabaka Hutchings, Ezra Collective, and more, as well as Jorja Smith, who reworks St Germain’s “Rose Rouge”.

beabadoobee – Fake It Flowers CD/LP (Dirty Hit)
Earning the 2020 Brit Award for Rising Star, beabadoobee has navigated the world of global touring, viral fame and musical creation to work towards a dazzling debut album. Fake It Flowers is a testament to this. Bea adopts a mature sound, where her familiar warm, fuzzy lo-fi lies between strings and melodies, bringing the raw honesty of her DIY roots into a new era.

Goldmund – The Time It Takes CD/LP (Western Vinyl)
Pennsylvania native Keith Kenniff’s output as Goldmund has established him as one of the preeminent composers of minimal piano-based ambient music alongside peers like Hauschka, Dustin O’Halloran, and even Ryuichi Sakamoto, who himself once described Kenniff’s work as so, so, so beautiful. His recordings tread sincerely along paths laden with dusty timbres, diffuse synthesizer, and soaring string textures tinted by the muted glow of a cloudy analog sky above. On The Time It Takes, Goldmund’s newest book of aural polaroids, Kenniff somehow manages to deepen the emotionality of his already affecting project, creating a space in which to unfold the sorrows of a troubling age and revel in the hope and beauty that follow thereafter. In this sense, The Time it Takes tackles grief head-on, unadorned by themes of escapism or pastorality, and marks another entry in an impressively consistent body of work.

Kevin Morby – Sundowner CD/LP (Dead Oceans)
“Ever a songwriter with a sense of journey, Morby’s lyrics mix the autobiographical with abstractions of the everyday, iconography is given entirely new meaning as you witness an artist’s wonderfully unique perspective. Within the sound of Sundowner you are taken outside to look upon a wonderful vista, feel the gravel crunch under your feet, the wind running through your hair as a chime sings in the distance. The instrumentation and guitar playing in particular can sometimes feel like a serenade, to encapsulate such place and time easily lends credit to the talent of this songwriter and all of a sudden, you are a sundowner too.” – Clash Music [Limited opaque yellow colored vinyl pressing also available.]

Tobin Sprout – Empty Horses CD/LP (Fire)
Artist, illustrator, writer and lo-fi innovator, Tobin Sprout was the super-productive partner of Robert Pollard in the legendary Guided By Voices. The gifted songwriter returns with a pensive, expansive part autobiographical new album Empty Horses. Here he’s part Townes Van Zandt, part John Prine, part Robbie Robertson at his retrospective best. The album is a meticulously observed study of America and Americana (not the music, but the state of mind). An alternative American Songbook, if you will, a collection of laments to simpler times and the struggle for what’s right, peppered with an examination of faith and the search for a sense of justice. Close up and personal, Empty Horses is a poignant carefully etched experience, a rolling journey in modern times, nodding back to tradition, a personal snapshot filled with honesty.

William Elliott Whitmore – I’m With You CD/LP+MP3 (Bloodshot)
William Elliott Whitmore returns with all original material for his eighth full-length album. I’m With You centers around the theme of unity and togetherness with family, friends, and the human race.

Reckless Kelly – American Jackpot/American Girls 2xLP (No Big Deal)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. For nearly 25 years, Reckless Kelly has graced the musical landscape with a high-powered form of Americana, equally rooted in raw passion, refined musicianship, and gritty authenticity. With the dual release of two new albums – American Jackpot and American Girls – the Idaho-bred band presents a beautifully detailed portrait of their beloved country, turning their nuanced songwriting to its many glories and tragedies. While one batch of songs centers on slice-of-life storytelling and the other explores the complexities of human connection, the collective body of work unfolds with a profound and often eye-opening attention to the subtleties of American life.

GORILLAZ – Song Machine Season One CD/LP/Deluxe LP
ADRIANNE LENKER – Songs And Instrumentals CD/LP
MOUNTAIN GOATS – Getting In Knives CD/LP
PALLBEARER – Forgotten Days CD/LP
BOY PABLO – Wachito Rico LP
ACTION BRONSON – Only For Dolphins CD/LP
LOMA – Don’t Shy Away CD/LP
CLIPPING – Visions Of Bodies Being Burned CD/LP
ACTRESS – Karma + Desire CD/LP
CHAIN GANG OF 1974 – Honey Moon Drips LP